This post has been weeks (fine, months!) in the making, but it took me so long to get myself to sit down and get going on it.
Okay. HIIIII GUYS! How are you all? I hope well and 2018 is treating you right so far!
I don't know about you guys, but it was so hard to find my work groove after having two weeks off in the beginning of the year. Like usual, when I dived back into work, I dived back in deep. One thing I am being more mindful of this year, however, is giving myself one-to-two days a week to work from home so I have time to regroup and catch up. So far, so good! Everyone deserves a couple slower days to come back down to Earth. 2017 felt like I was on a different planet. I ended work officially on December 20th, and I couldn't remember a time before that I actually took legit time off or didn't work. I had worked every single day (even on vacation), without skipping a beat, since as long as I can remember. So needless to say, taking two uninterrupted weeks off was amazing!
I thought I would combine this post with a long overdue blog post on editing style (a common question I get asked about), as well as showing you my little humble abode. I reside in 1,100 square feet, 1 + retreat, 1 bath guest house, and I'm super obsessed with my space. I know I won't be here forever since I'm planning on looking to buy a house in the next year or so (YASS!!), but I'm truly obsessed with it. I love being able to experience the little things of having a home, like hearing your laundry drying, hearing a knock on my front door, or if you're CRAZY like me, actually being able to clean a house. BUT, most of all decorate. Decorating is such a passion of mine!
Alright, let's dive in...
I get many questions through social media and emails about my business, and after taking a poll, people wanted to hear about the business side and my advice on certain things. So, to kick off this advice series, I am starting with STYLE OF PHOTOGRAPHY.
The most common questions I get asked by people are "How do you edit your photos?", "Do you do mentorships?" or "How can I make my style be like yours?"
Such a compliment guys! Especially because half the time I feel like I am cross eyed at the computer while I edit. So, THANK YOU!
Ok, where to begin...
(This is where you scroll ;) )
Style is such a personal choice and I believe it really reflects you as a person. It took me a good three years to firmly plant my style of photography on the ground. YES. Three years. But, don't be discouraged because that was just my journey and doesn't mean it's going to take you that long. Nowadays, I feel like creatives have a better sense of what they want their work to look like and that in and of itself is such an advantage that didn't come naturally to me at first.
When it comes to someones business and/or personal brand, you should 100% be behind your work and not compromise that. Consistency is SO key. Once you find a editing style you love, stick with it as long as it is serving you and don't veer off the tracks. The worst thing to show a prospective client is an unclear visual of what your business and style represents - because, HELLO if you're showing them a million different edits, it's unclear what kind of photographer you are! Are you light and airy? Are you moody? Are you traditional?
Which brings me to my personal style. I would describe my personal and business life/brand to be very light and airy, so it was important to me to implement that into my photography. I always put myself in a clients shoes. If I were the client, what kind of photographer would I seek? Light and airy for me, every time!
If you feel like that is your style as well, then moving forward in this post, hopefully you'll have a few takeaways. For anyone of a different style, YOU ROCK THAT STYLE. I'm sure it's amazing and hope it signifies what you want your brand to represent! Thats the beauty of photography - there are so many different kinds of beautiful editing.
When it comes to an image prior to editing, you want to make sure you are shooting in good natural light in order to achieve an edit that is crisp and clean. GOOD NATURAL LIGHT IS EVERYTHING. Pick the time of day that best suits wherever you are shooting. For me, I tend to shoot indoors in the late morning and outdoor sessions a majority of the time in the early evening, or during golden light hour.
Remember, backlight is your friend. Sunlight should never really be hitting your clients faces. There will be those moments during golden hour where that is the exception, but for the most part, NO SUN IN FACE. Okay? Shooting during golden hour will also help you achieve a very soft and clean image as well. When shooting indoors, I recommend shooting in naturally lit rooms with big windows. If you're limited on space, as long as you have your client turn more towards the window or glass door, you should still be good to go.
As far as the technical side of a camera, I encourage everyone to get comfortable with the three things that will make or break a photo: ISO, Aperature, and Shutter Speed. I tend to slightly underexpose my images while shooting and then overexpose in post. Once you feel confident with those settings, it will be a game changer for your sessions, whatever they may be! If any of you want me to talk more about the technical side of photography, let me know, and I'll try going more in depth in a post later.
Editing is where the magic happens. What makes you, YOU.
One thing I am pretty firm on is that I will never do an in depth step-by-step into how I edit a photo. You want someone to look at your photography and say "Oh, ____ took that!", not "That looks like a photo Ashley Burns took!" As much as that would be flattering, your photography needs to be your own. I highly encourage anyone that gets asked about editing to do the same! There is room for everyone to have their own corner in this field. Everyone deserves to stand out! :)
I am a Fuji Mastin Labs preset user through and through. I've also recently dabbled into Kindred presets as well that I'm really loving. I edit all of my photos in Lightroom CC, but from time to time will pull something into Photoshop for a more detailed edit if needed. From there, I will make the appropriate tweaks to my liking and then export! I'm a simple person when it comes to editing. I spend a majority of my time color correcting over anything else. It is rare that I slap a preset on my photos and export. There is a lot of mindfulness that goes into tweaking and color correcting, so that is something to start getting more comfortable with if you aren't already. I am also very organic. I don't do any airbrushing to the face or body manipulation. Just not my jam. I try to preserve an image to its original form the absolute best that I can, with a slight tune up.
Something that goes hand-in-hand with editing is consistency, as I mentioned earlier. Making sure each photo you edit has similar coloring and vibe couldn't be more crucial. Photographers have their work living on the internet, through our websites and social media, so being cognizant of cohesiveness is what I also thinks drives an audience in and entices them to be a follower of your work. When you have a hodge podge of imagery it tells less of a story and I've noticed people are less interested. Because branding photography has become such a huge part of my business, you can take my word for this one! I know many creatives out there will agree.
I want to truly thank everyone for their private messages and emails. It means the world to hear from people near and far, especially if it is work related. I pour so much of my heart and time into work, so the fact that it gets recognized by people on a regular basis is something I will never take for granted.
This may sound so cliche, okay it totally is, but I feel like the luckiest woman in the world. I'm so fortunate to pursue a career everyday that makes me feel whole. Its the only thing that can take me completely out of my head when I'm having a bad day or need to escape reality.
Things have changed so quickly in such a short amount of time and I'm so excited to share more!
My corner in this field means the world to me.
Until next time... I will be tackling more questions soon!
Your friend, Ashley
*DISCLAIMER* This post was created based on personal point of view. Some things make work better for others or people may do things differently, and thats all gravy, too. This is just what works for me! ;)